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Drawbridge-Heeled Sports Footwear

The Nike Ease Challenge Winner Features a Unique Heel Design

— April 27, 2017 — Social Good
Each year, Nike's Ease Challenge tasks footwear designers to think up new shoe concepts that make it easier for disabled athletes to exercise and compete. This year, the winning shoe features a modification that Brett Drake, its inventor, refers to as a "drawbridge." The shoe, which takes the Nike Hyperdunk as its base, features a hinged, detachable heel that makes it significantly easier for people with limited foot mobility or dexterity to don the shoes.

The drawbridge heel on the Ease Challenge-winning shoe has a hinge toward the sole, and it connects to the back of the heel with light but strong magnets. Once attached, the shoe looks essentially identical to the original Nike Hyperdunk, and that's part of the reason for Drake's winning design's appeal.
Trend Themes
1. Accessibility-enhancing Sports Footwear - Opportunity for innovators to create sports footwear that incorporates modifications to make it easier for individuals with limited mobility or dexterity to wear and use.
2. Modular Shoe Design - By incorporating detachable components, there is potential to create versatile footwear that can be easily customized for different activities or user needs.
3. Inclusive Shoe Design Competitions - The Nike Ease Challenge highlights the importance of inclusive design in the footwear industry, inspiring other competitions and initiatives that encourage innovation in this field.
Industry Implications
1. Sports Footwear - There is opportunity for companies in the sports footwear industry to develop and market inclusive and adaptable footwear that meets the needs of individuals with disabilities.
2. Assistive Technology - This trend presents opportunities for companies specializing in assistive technology to collaborate with sports footwear manufacturers in developing innovative solutions for individuals with limited mobility or dexterity.
3. Design Competitions - The rise of inclusive shoe design competitions opens doors for design agencies, organizations, and businesses in the fashion and footwear industry to participate, collaborate, and drive innovation in accessible footwear.
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